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Your Guide to Swimming After Pregnancy

Your Guide to Swimming After Pregnancy
31 December 2014 1945 Views No comments

Getting back to regular exercise after having a baby isn't all about getting back into shape. Having a bit of time to yourself to jog or swim can help you get away from being mum for a while and give you a much-needed energy boost.

But how long after giving birth is it okay to get back in the pool, and is there anything you need to bear in mind before you start working out again?

Our guide to swimming after pregnancy will help you to decide when it is the right time for you to get back in the pool, whether you want to take baby with you or enjoy a few sessions alone first.

When can I get in the water?

The answer to this largely depends on the type of birth you had, as assisted births or caesareans mean that your recovery time is a bit longer than with a straightforward birth.

The most basic answer is that you shouldn't start swimming until your lochia (the discharge following childbirth) has stopped. You may find that your lochia isn't as heavy ten days after you've given birth, but it won't completely stop for another two to four weeks.

Once you are certain that your lochia has stopped, you're able to get back into the water.

However, if you had an episiotomy, you shouldn't get in the pool until it is completely healed. This will help to avoid infection and will reduce any discomfort as you get used to exercising again. The same goes for caesareans, which may take longer than this to feel fully healed.

What types of exercises should I do?

You should aim to start off as gently as you can, swimming at a slow pace for a length or two. This will help you get used to the changes in your body and stop you from straining yourself.

Swimming is a great way to start off exercising again after birth, because it is relatively low impact and the water supports your weight. However, you may still find that you get tired much more easily than you did before you were pregnant. This is because your body has been through a lot during labour and your sleep pattern is likely to be disrupted.

If you do get tired, take a break. It is important not to overdo it, so stop swimming if you are starting to ache, feel any pain or get worn out quickly. Your tolerance for exercise will build up slowly as you do more of it, so work at a pace with which you are comfortable.

When should I not swim after pregnancy?

You should avoid swimming after childbirth if you are having problems with leaking urine. This is a case of simple hygiene, as swimming in a pool while suffering from incontinence is not ideal.

You should perform low-impact pelvic floor and lower abdominal exercises if this is the case to help resolve the problem. Once you no longer have an issue, you can start swimming again.

If you are experiencing any pelvic or back pain following childbirth, it may be a good idea to keep exercise to a minimum. You may want to get in the water to see if it can help ease the pain, but swimming might make it worse.

You can always check with your GP or health visitor to see if there is anything you can do to ease these pains, as they will be able to give you the best advice on a case by case basis.

If your GP or health visitor advises against swimming for any reason, it is best to avoid the water until they give you the all clear. It is their job to keep you healthy, so you should always check to see whether they think you are ready to take up swimming again.